The two poems chosen for analysis are “Love Constant beyond Death” written by Francisco de Quevedo and “The Brain Is Wider than the Sky” authored by Emily Dickinson (1830–86). Although the two poems explore different themes, they share similarities and are excellent works of literature. The two poems’ evaluation seeks to explore the poems, show the literary elements used, and compare and contrast them, with the goals of understanding them comprehensively. Foremost, “Love constant beyond death” effectively captures the metaphysical endurance of love after death. The poem depicts the power that love has over death. Essentially, it suggests the possibility of love existing between two individuals despite one them not being physically present. As such, such love not only transcends physical realms but also exceeds the spiritual ones and thus connects the living and the dead. “The brain is wider than the sky, on the contrary, is a poem about the brain. The poet asserts that the brain is greater than the sky. As such, if the brain were to be juxtaposed with the sky, the brain would absorb the sky. Furthermore, the poem suggests that the brain is deeper than the sea since the brain is the weight of God and hence if hefted “Pound for Pound,” the brain and the weight of God would not differ significantly. In this analysis, there are four parts to compare which are the structure, figures of speech, themes and author analysis for both poems.
The two poems are structured uniquely to deliver their specific messages effectively. They encompass different structures with Quevedo’s poem being made of a single stanza, which is comprised of multiple lines. In contrast, Dickinson’s poem is made up of three stanzas each consisting of three to four lines. It is evident that Quevedo’s approach of a single stanza in the poem encompasses a singularity approach whereby it shows that love is stronger than death (De Quevedo & Merwin, 1969). Dickinson’s poem shows different ways in which the brain can be compared to several entities. Hence, each of the poem’s approach is effective in aiding in the presentation of core ideas.
Figures of speech
The two poems use poetry elements to improve the appeal of their messages to the reader. A feature that is used in both poems is the rhyming of words. In both poems, the last words of the lines have a rhyming relationship. For instance, in “Love constant beyond death” poem, words such as “eyes, day, lies, way, and memory” rhyme alternatingly. In the other poem, the words; sea, blue, god, and pound have a rhyming relationship (Thagard, 2011). The second element that the poets use extensively is metaphors. In Quevedo’s poem, death is likened to the last shadow that covers a person’s eyes (De Quevedo & Merwin, 1969). Additionally, the soul of a person is likened to a flame. In Dickinson’s poem, also encompasses the use of metaphors. For example, the brain is juxtaposed with different realms, such as the sky and ocean. Moreover, it is observed that both poems use symbolism as different aspects of human life or nature are symbolized by easily understandable entities. By use of ‘ash’, Quevedo symbolizes the futility of human life since, within no time, the body is reduced to nothing (De Quevedo & Merwin, 1969).
The two poems are different from each other in some aspects. One of their major differences is in the topics. Nevertheless, the two poems have some similar themes. First, the theme of comparison is evident in both poems. Quevedo’s poem talks about the power of love over death while Dickinson’s poem explores the power of the brain over other entities. In this case, the two poems compare their main points with other aspects t show their superiority or inferiority. Second, the theme of deism is present in both poems. Quevedo’s poem contains the line “My soul, whom a God made his prison of” while in the second poem has the line “The brain is just the weight of God.” It can be argued that that both poems elude to a supreme God who has power over humanity. Essentially, from both poems, one can deduce that God is the author of human life and is all-powerful.
The last aspect of comparison which can help in shedding more light on the poems is author analysis and comparison. Francisco de Quevedo (1580 – 1645) was a Spanish writer and a poet from the Baroque era. He was the most of the most salient Spanish poets of the age. His style was the conceptismo which existed between 16th and 17th century. One aspect of his life which might have influenced his writing approach is being orphaned by the age of six. This could be the ideology behind his authoring of “Love Constant beyond Death”. Emily Dickinson (1830-86) on the other hand was a prolific American poet. She lived most of her life in reclusive isolation and was considered as an eccentric by locals. Most of her poems dealt with immortality and death. As such, her poem, “The Brain Is Wider than the Sky” approach and structure is reminiscent to her period and methodology of poetry structures of the 17th century.
Undoubtedly, the two poems are quite captivating. An analysis of these two poems helps in understanding them comprehensively. The evaluation reveals that each poet had a unique approach to writing poems. Despite the evident differences between the poems, the two encompass similarities in their use of figures of speech. Moreover, some themes are present in both poems. Both poems were written in the 17th century and hence depict the notions that the society held during the stated period. Essentially, during the time in question, the themes of deism and power of love, as well as the power of the human brain, were common topics. The two qualify as excellent works of literature because both of them mirror the society that existed when the poets composed them.
De Quevedo, F., & Merwin, W. S. (1969). Love constant beyond death. TriQuarterly, 16, 48.
Thagard, P. (2011). The brain is wider than the sky: Analogy, emotion, and allegory. Metaphor and Symbol, 26(2), 131-142. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10926488.2011.556509